Talking with a new friend yesterday, we discussed the interesting methods of how God came into our lives and our observations on others. I mentioned that I did not feel I came to God. Rather, God found me. I hadn’t been looking for God but, in retrospect, I was lost and desperate. My unhappiness was based in many areas. An inability to forgive myself, a feeling that I was on the wrong path, and that the further I went down the path, the farther I was getting from my own salvation. I was living the way our society judges success: money, toys, promotions, etc. I had tried to escape my own responsibility for my salvation through alcohol and later food. However, when I finally came to the realization that spiritually I was missing something important, everything changed for me. Not overnight, perhaps, but in so many critical ways.
My friend, to the contrary, simply realized that his life was good. Like me, he was born and raised Christian and had drifted into a more agnostic perspective. My friend reflected on his good fortune and felt he needed to express his thanks. A big Steven Covey fan, he had dedicated time each week to developing his mind, maintaining his body, and cultivating relationships of the heart. However, he was missing a contribution to his spiritual well being and this led him back to the church. Although born and raised Protestant, he found the relative anonymity of the Catholic church refreshing. He wanted to go to church to develop his relationship with God and did not want the experience of intense neighborly fellowship that smaller churches represent. After two years, he discovered he enjoyed it and decided to officially join the Catholic Church.
While my connection was with St. Maximus the Confessor, my friend found St. Augustine called to his heart. We reflected that regardless of your religion, there are so many wonderful and life changing observations by the saints that everyone of every faith could appreciate. It is unfortunate that because they have the title “Saint” and are therefore associated with the Catholic Church, people avoid them on general principle.